(CNN) – BILLIONThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added two destinations to the “high” category for Covid-19 risk – including a Caribbean country known for its beaches.
The Dominican Republic and Kuwaiti, a Middle Eastern country known for its cultural offerings, both are now listed as “Level 3: Covid-19 Level.”
Level 3, or “high,” is currently the highest level of risk and applies to places where there have been more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Level 2 and Level 1 are considered “moderate” and “low” risk, respectively.
Level 4, formerly the highest risk category, is now reserved for special circumstances only, such as an extremely high number of cases, the emergence of a new variant of concern or a collapse of healthcare infrastructure. Under the new system, no destinations have been set at Level 4 so far.
In a weekly update with little overall movement, Monday’s move to Tier 3 is a huge leap for Kuwait, which is already at Tier 1. The Dominican Republic has moved up from Tier 2.
There were nearly 115 Tier 3 destinations as of June 27. Level 3 sites accounted for nearly half of the approximately 235 locations monitored by the CDC.
Added at level 3
Much of Europe has been stubbornly at Level 3 for months with the summer tourist season in full swing. As of June 27, the following popular European destinations are among those remaining at Level 3:
Sightseeing train offers great views of Istanbul. Turkey is at CDC Level 3.
Nikolay N. Antonov / Adobe Stock
Those aren’t the only well-known spots that find themselves at Level 3. Many other destinations around the world fall within the “high” risk category, including the following:
• Costa Rica
• South Korea
Late afternoon view of Journalist’s Park in Bogota, Colombia. The South American country is currently at Level 2.
Danaan Andrew-Pacleb / Adobe Stock
Destinations bearing the “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” designation have reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. The CDC moved four places to this on Monday:
• Saudi Arabic
The move is not good news for Colombia, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which are already in Level 1.
There are a total of 21 positions in the “moderate” risk category this week.
The Taj Mahal is India’s most iconic structure. India is currently at Level 1.
Ludovic Marin / AFP via Getty Images
To be listed as “Level 1: Covid-19 Low,” a destination must have 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents in the last 28 days. No new destinations were added to the catalog as of June 27.
Some of the more popular places in the “low” risk category this week include Indonesia, India and the Philippines.
Finally, there are destinations that the CDC considers “unknown” risk because of a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places where war or unrest is ongoing.
This week, rarely visited Djibouti in the Horn of Africa has been added to this category.
The CDC advises against traveling to these places because of the unknown risks. Other destinations in this category that generally attract more tourist attention include French Polynesia, Macau, and the Maldives.
A health professional weighs in on the level of risk
According to Dr. Leana Wen, CNN Health Analyst, transmission rates are only “a guide” for travelers’ individual risk calculations.
We’ve moved into “a phase of the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances and risk tolerance for contracting Covid-19,” Wen, an emergency physician and professor. in health policy and management at the Milken School of Public Health at George Washington University.
According to Wen, there are other factors to consider besides transfer speed.
“The other is what is necessary and following precautions where you are going and the third is what you plan to do when you get there,” she said.
“Are you planning on going to a lot of attractions and going to indoor bars? That’s very different from going somewhere where you’re going to lie on the beach all day and not come into contact with anyone else. It’s very different. It’s a very different level of risk.”
Immunization is the most important safety factor for travel, as unvaccinated travelers are more likely to get sick and transmit Covid-19 to others, Wen said.
And it’s important that you consider what you will do if you end up testing positive while away from home.
Top image: Tropical beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Valentin Valkov / Adobe Stock)